Frederick Richard Lee (1798-1879)

Frederick Richard Lee (1798-1879)

Frederick Richard Lee served in the British army before health reasons compelled him to turn his interest in painting to a full time profession. Born in 1798 in Barnstaple, Devon, England, he enrolled at the Royal Academy in 1818 and quickly refined his talents. Lee first exhibited with the British Institution in 1822 and with the Royal Academy in 1824, and would thereafter remain a consistent contributor to both venues.

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Inspired by the work of the John Constable, Lee dedicated his career to painting landscapes and found his subjects along the rugged coastline of England and Scotland, and in the quiet hamlets in between. The artist’s compositions celebrated the beauty of the natural world, as well as man’s interaction with it, and were much sought after by collectors. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1838, and briefly partnered with Sir Edwin Landseer and Thomas Cooper, with Lee providing the landscape for their animal subjects.

While he kept an estate in Pilton near Barnstaple, the Lee’s professional success and a family inheritance allowed him to travel often aboard his yacht to ports in France, Spain and Italy, as well as South Africa, where passed away in 1879. Today his work can be found in both British and American museums, including the Tate Gallery in London, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

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